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Last Updated: Monday, 9 July 2007, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Reviews: The Order of the Phoenix
The first reviews of the latest Harry Potter film have appeared in the world's press, and it has generally been well received, deemed as the darkest movie in the series so far.

British film maker David Yates directed it and it opens in many countries around the world later this week.

Here is a selection of the comments which have been published so far.

DAILY TELEGRAPH (UK) - Charles Frederick

[Harry] is a bundle of adolescent anxieties: conflicted, often isolated and sometimes murderously angry.

Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The Order of the Phoenix is the fifth film in the Harry Potter series

And that much-anticipated kiss with his fellow pupil Cho might put people off. It lingers just a bit too long and there is not enough chemistry.

Yet the film is dark enough to engage adults, familiar enough to reassure us and fast-paced, as 766 pages are packed into two hours and 18 minutes.

And who can watch Harry and friends flying in formation along the Thames and not dream of being able to join him?

EMPIRE MAGAZINE (UK) - Helen O'Hara

It won't win new fans, but as Potter movies go, this is the most filmic of the lot, suspenseful and action-packed...

Helena Bonham Carter in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Bonham Carter makes her first appearance in a Harry Potter film
Strikes and duels whip past in a flurry of physical and mental blows, with combatants piling into the fray, and one juicy match-off the franchise equivalent of Yoda's light-sabre duel.

Amid cackling baddies (especially Helena Bonham Carter's crazy-haired Bellatrix Lestrange) and heroes teetering on the brink, there's a moment of revelation.

Potter isn't just for kids - this is a proper, grown-up adventure. And that bodes well for the films to come.

TIME MAGAZINE (US) - Richard Corliss

Precociously wise, Harry also seems prematurely tired, a wizened wizard at 15.

And [Daniel] Radcliffe measures up to his character; his bold shadings reveal Harry as both a tortured adolescent and an epic hero ready to do battle.

All of which makes Potter 5 not just a ripping yarn but a powerful, poignant coming-of-age story.

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER (US) - Kirk Honeycutt

This is a movie that feels like a reunion in a train station, in which even more characters get introduced and old friends revisited.

Evanna Lynch in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The film is released this week in countries such as the US and the UK
[It makes] for a bewildering array of personages to keep track of even for those paying close attention.

Then there is the fact that this book - and movie - is a watershed of backstory, revelations and plot clarifications before heading into the two remaining chapters.

So while Phoenix is a necessary film, it's quite possibly the least enjoyable of the lot so far.

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (AUSTRALIA) - Garry Maddox

From the first scene in a bleak playground, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the darkest movie so far in the hugely successful series.

The young wizard has turned into an angry teenager, haunted by nightmares after confronting Lord Voldemort and seeing Cedric Diggory die in the previous instalment...

[David] Yates makes sure there is plenty of humour - often centring on banter from Ron Weasley and his livewire brothers - and examples of magic at Hogwarts.

But while this instalment is a must-see for fans, the sheer weight of plot might have less enthusiastic muggles checking their watches.

ROLLING STONE (US) - Peter Travers

All the actors excel, notably Gary Oldman as Sirius Black and Alan Rickman as Severus Snape.

Alan Rickman in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Teacher Severus Snape is once again played by Alan Rickman
But it's the tale itself that hurtles the movie along.

That momentum carries you over the film's few rough patches.

Order of the Phoenix, the best of the series so far, has the laughs, the jitters and the juice to make even non-believers wild about Harry.

THE TIMES (UK) - Leo Lewis

The film, a necessary digest of the 800-page book, leaves us faintly annoyed that the true denouement of the cycle is now two movies distant.

The chief problem, though, is not really a fault of the film but the near universal Potter-literacy of its prospective audience.

Most Potter fans are now laser-focused on the release of the climactic seventh book... and its promise to bring together the countless loose ends.

As the waiting for the final book grows unbearable, there are moments when this otherwise enjoyable film, though nicely-made and through no fault of its own, feels like a chore to be got through before the main course.

NEW YORK MAGAZINE (US) - David Edelstein

This is the best Harry Potter picture yet...

In some ways, it improves on JK Rowling's novel, which is punishingly protracted and builds to a climactic wand-off better seen than read...

This is not a family movie. It's not even a borderline gothic horror movie, in the manner of the third and fourth (scary) Potter instalments.

Directed by David Yates, Order of the Phoenix is Orwellian. The palette is grainy and dank, the faces dour, the hero's alienation beginning to fester.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Clips from Order of the Phoenix



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